The No. 1 Yoga Pose for a Strong Core
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We've all heard that maintaining a strong core is super important, but do you really know why? Sure, you’ll feel awesome in a bikini, but a strong core does so much more than meets the eye, literally. In addition to the six-pack muscles you can see (the rectus abdominis), your core is made up of all the muscles that surround your spine and pelvis (transversus abdominis, internal and external obliques, erector spinae, etc.).

Why should you care about building core strength? A strong core leads to better balance and stability and reduces back pain—a problem that affects more than 80 percent of Americans at some point in their lives, resulting in an estimated 150 million workdays lost each year. When your core is strong, it alleviates the stresses of weight bearing on your spine, maintaining its health and your happiness. After all, it’s hard to live a full, active life if you’re always in pain. I know that from experience.

When I was 18 years old, a horrible car accident left me with chronic pain in my neck and back. I had accepted this pain as part of life, so I hardly even noticed when it spread... until the day a sudden knee-buckling pain nearly made me faceplant in the middle of Times Square. Thus began my journey with sciatica. In some cases, sciatica pain is severe enough to make a person unable to move. But not me. Thanks to a regular, core-centric yoga practice, I not only avoided surgery, but my whole body got stronger, everything started to function better, and the pain went away. Completely. Score!

It didn’t happen overnight, and I learned a lot along the way. Lesson number one: The plank is the ultimate pose for building core strength and boosting your ability to stabilize your spine. This is essential for lower-back health and peak performance in any sport or workout (or just in everyday life!).

Plank may be king, but it’s not the only yoga-inspired move to strengthen your body's powerhouse. Click here to see my all-time favorite poses for a rock-solid core!

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